CBI questions Chidu

CBI has questioned former finance minister P Chidambaram on whether he facilitated clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for the controversial Aircel-Maxis deal. CBI sources said Chidambaram was called to explain if he had gone beyond his remit to clear investment of Rs.3,500 crore, considering the finance minister was authorized to approve investment of up to Rs.600 crore only. Any proposal exceeding this mandated approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
Chidambaram had responded to CBI's move to probe his role in FIPB clearance for the Aircel-Maxis deal by saying that he had acted on the basis of the recommendations of officials. “In the Aircel-Maxis case, FIPB sought the approval of the finance minister in accordance with the rules. The case was submitted through the additional secretary and secretary , DEA. Both of them recommended the case for approval.Approval was granted by me as finance minister, in the normal course,“ Chidambaram had said in the statement in September. Chidambaram had said that the file regarding the case was put up before him by officials and he approved it “in the normal course“.
“I under stand that the officials of FIPB who dealt with the matter have explained to CBI that under the rules, as they stood then, the case required only the approval of the finance minister. I am sure the files will bear out the correctness of this position,“ Chidambaram had said.
Chidambaram had further said, “the FIPB is chaired by the secretary , Department of Economic Affairs. It recommends proposals for the approval of the finance minister and, where required under the rules, the approval of the CCEA.“ The Aircel-Maxis case is about former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran, who allegedly “pressured“ Chennai-based promoter of Aircel C Sivasankaran to sell his stakes in Aircel and two subsidiary firms to Malaysian firm Maxis Group in 2006.
In its chargesheet , CBI has alleged that the telecom ministry under Maran denied Sivasankaran a licence in order to force him to sell his stake in Aircel to the Malaysian firm Maxis. The probe agency has alleged that Maran and his brother Kalanithi were paid a bribe of Rs.742 crore from the promoter of Maxis.

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